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Thriving, diverse high streets are the lifeblood of a resilient community, says CEO Mike Rooney

Britain’s high streets have been given a ‘welcome’ £1.5bn boost in the Budget today. 

The financial package announed by Chancellor Philip Hammond includes Â£900m in business rates relief for nearly 500,000 small businesses, and a pot of £650m to rejuvenate high streets and their transport links.

Responding to the announcements, Resilience First CEO Mike Rooney said:

“Our research has shown us that escalating business rates is one of the biggest threats to the resilience of businesses, especially smaller retailers.

“So the cut of up to a third announced today by the Chancellor is clearly a welcome measure.

“I hope it will bring some much-needed relief to small firms trying to cope with a range of pressures including transport network disruptions, rent rises, rapid digitalisation and an uncertain business landscape.

“The Futures High Street fund is also a very interesting initiative. Thriving, diverse high streets are the lifeblood of a resilient community that is better placed to absorb or adapt to shocks and stresses.

“These can range from major incidents such as flooding or terrorist attack, to long-term change such as droughts or pollution, or everyday pressures such as localised crime.

“Overcoming and moving on from these challenges is crucial for all businesses, of any size, and is the key to a vibrant, successful high street that creates jobs, growth and community spirit.”

The measures from the Treasury are intended to help small shops by cutting business rates by a third for all retailers in England with a rateable value of £51,000 or less.

Mr Hammond also announced Â£675m of co-funding to create a “Future High Streets Fund” to support councils to draw up plans for the transformation of their high streets.

The Chancellor says this will allow them to invest in improvements and to facilitate redevelopment of under-used retail and commercial areas into residential.

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